Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blantyre, Malawi - One of the great things on my Malawi trip was that the professor with which we stay, had a cook named Simoni. He made all different sorts of dishes and would even attempt to make new dishes if you were willing to teach him. On other occasions, he would make his own style dishes and this is one of them. It is called Sobo Chicken. It is chicken marinated in different spices and in a broth, but he would not reveal his recipe. All he told me was that it had Chili spice and other variety of spices in it. MMMM. The dish is also cooked with raisins, so it gives the whole dish a wonderful sweat flavor and it compliments the chili spice very well to help calm down the kick that it had. If you can find a good recipe or have someone make it for you, Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dedza, Malawi - Another cultural influence in Malawi is Indian. There are several dishes you'll find with curry and a little kick. Well, the first picture is Poppadom, it is an Indian wafer or sometimes describes as a cracker or flatbred. It is made with lenitl, chickpea, black gram, or rice flour topped with tomatoes and mangos. It was nice and lite, with fresh fruits, and surprising, it had a little spicy kick to it. If you get a chance to go to the Pottery Lodge in Dedza, try it out. The second dish is another appetizer, deviled eggs. Actually, it turned out to be just that and nothing special, so I don't recommend it. The last picture is of the main dish, Chicken Curry. It turned out to be a lot more chicken curry than I noticed from the looks of it because there was actually more underneath the rice. Overall the dish was good, but they added an interesting ingredient, sugar on top. I didn't expect it and I'm not sure why, but it made the dish a little more sweet. I also ordered it spicy level of Hot, but I didn't think it had a strong kick. I may have noticed that it had something, but it definitely wasn't hot. If I had the chance of being there again, I would try something else. Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Johannesburg, South Africa - I had the fortunate opportunity to have my flight canceled in Johannesburg and Air Malawi put me up for the night at their guest house. In addition, they took me out for dinner and went to a great seafood restaurant called Ocean Basket. The seafood is fresh and delicious. You can also see the English influence as well. I first started with some simple bread they bring to the table, but what is special is the minced garlic and jalapeno peppers that compliment it. It is very customary to smear the garlic and peppers on the bread, giving it a strong flavor with a kick. It was awesome and spicy! Then the main course is called the Seafood Platter that comes with prawns, squid, cod, muscles, and fries. The cod and muscles were prepared very well in a lite olive oil and garlic, but the best part of the dish was the prawns and squid. The prawns are always interesting to eat, especially when they look back at you. It has a delicious shrimpy flavor, but not as strong. I heard you can eat the head, but I chose not to. The squid was by far the best part of the dish. They were prepared to perfection; soft and packed with flavor. I ate every piece of the squid and wanted more! Enjoy!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Blantyre, Malawi (Africa) - Malawi was a British colony and gained their independence in 1964. Therefore, you could guess that there is a lot of British influence in their food. This is Chambo and Chips with a side of "coleslaw" from Hollywood Cafe. Chambo is Chechewa for fish. It's a generic term, so you really could get any fish when you order it. It is usually served whole like in the picture, but sometimes you can have it served also opened. In this case, it would be sliced down the middle and the fish would be open like a book, but still whole. Many times it is deep fried with some very basic seasoning. Because it's also a very cheap dish, you can tell that you don't get a big piece of fish with lots of meat on it. It's fairly small, but enough to tie you over. The chips are just like french fries, but not as long and skinny. They are prepared in the same manner. The coleslaw is really just shredded cabbage with some carrots and they give you oil and vinegar to sprinkle onto the salad. In one way, it's much healthier. The chambo is not bad, a little greasy and hard to eat, but not bad. Enjoy!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Blantyre, Malawi (Africa) - That's correct. AFRICA! I had the fantastic and unique opportunity to go to Africa, Malawi, and try some basic and common, but also unique and extraordinary food. Here's my adventure. This is the most common indigenous food in Malawi. It is called Nsima from a restaurant called Temptations. It is pronounced N-Sea-Ma. Usually you order Nsima with either beef, chicken, or fish. I ordered mine with beef. It also comes with a small vegetable, which they call a relish. The actual Nsima is the mashed potato looking mounds. Nsima is made of ground maize and water. It has very little to no flavor, but what flavor it does have, it is like cream of wheat. Not the most appetizing thing to eat. Which is my Malawians have the meat portion with the vegetable. The beef is prepared in a slightly curry tomato sauce and the vegetable sauteed and similar to a spinach/celery. The way to eat this is by taking a little piece of meat and little piece of Nsima. Then a little piece of vegetable and Nsima. Since the Nsima doesn't have much flavor, you get most of it from the other pieces. Even though the meat and vegetable is a small portion, the Nsima is not and it just expands in your stomach. Since not everyone has money and food can be expensive for Malawians, Nsima is a fast, cheap (around $2), slightly nutritious, but a very filling dish that people don't have to eat much of the day later. I was very glad I tried it and although I enjoyed it, I probably wouldn't get it again if I had other choices. Enjoy!